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Rushden Echo & Argus, 28th July 1922, transcribed by Kay Collins
Death of Mr. John Thos. Colson
Chairman of The Rushden Council School Managers
A Man of Many Parts

The town of Rushden loses one of its leading citizens in the death, which took place last night at 11.30, of Mr. John Thomas Colson, of Moor-road. Deceased, who was 69 years of age, was a native of Rushden and had lived in the town all his life, being a member of a well-known Rushden family. He was the eldest son of the late Mr. Jabez Colson.

For some years Mr. Colson had been in failing health, but yesterday was no worse than usual, and up to nine o'clock last night he was at the Coffee Tavern, talking with his friends, and at that time he appeared to be in his normal condition. When he reached home, however, alarming symptoms developed, and in about a couple of hours he had passed away. His wife predeceased him, and he leaves only one daughter—Mrs. Frank Knight. His other daughter (the wife of Mr. Ben Lack, school master at Barking) passed away a few years ago.

Probably only his intimate friends knew the many-sided nature of Mr. Colson's activities and his manifold interests in life. He was a remarkably good business man, was a very wide reader, possessed a keen intellect, had a sound judgment on public affairs, and had amassed a great fund of general knowledge. He was very benevolent.

Politically he was an ardent Liberal — a Liberal by profound conviction—and was practically a life-long member of the Rushden Liberal Association, of which he was at one time the chairman. During his period of office as chairman he presided at the public meetings of the Association with great ability, and his speeches were always listened to with' interest. Last Saturday he was present at the Coalition Fete. He was also a loyal temperance advocate, and only a few hours before his death, as he chatted with Mr. George Bayes and other friends at the Coffee Tavern, he mentioned with pride that he was a life-long teetotaller. Throughout his adult life he was a member of the Rushden Temperance Society. For many years he was a director of the Rushden Coffee Tavern Co., of which he was a shareholder from the first.

For over 30 years he and the late Mr. John Claridge were associated as joint hon. secretaries of the Rushden Hospital Week Committee, and on their retirement from the office a couple of years ago they received the cordial thanks of the committee for the extraordinary amount of good work they had done. Mr. Colson was one of the overseers of the poor for the parish of Rushden, and he was the secretary of the Rushden Free Library Committee. Excellent was the work he performed as a member of the Rushden Volunteer Fire Brigade, and on his retirement from active service he was, in recognition of the value of his voluntary labours in fire-fighting, made an honorary life member of the brigade.

In the realm of sport, too, Mr Colson was a conspicuous figure in his younger days, and was a member of the Rushden Town Cricket Club, being an excellent batsman.

On the death of the late Mr W H Wilkins, Mr Colson was a candidate for the vacancy on the Rushden Urban Council, but his opponent, Mr A J Dobbs, won the seat for the Labour Party.

But Mr Colson’s chief interest in life was, we do not hesitate to say, in the educational world. Essentially he was an educationalist. For many years—probably for the whole period of its existence—he was a member of old Rushden School Board, and for a considerable period prior to the abolition of the Board under the Balfour Education Act of 1903, he was the chairman, succeeding the late Mr Samuel Knight in that capacity. On the formation of the Rushden Education Sub-Committee under the Balfour Act Mr Colson was elected the chairman and he held that position to the end of his life, being also the chairman of the Rushden Council School Managers. Only a fortnight ago he was re-elected to the chair of each of these bodies. As proof of his loyalty to the cause of education and of his devotion generally to the public work he undertook we may point to the fact that he never missed a meeting of those authorities.

In his business life he was highly respected. For a long period he managed the factory of his uncle, the late Mr William Colson, boot manufacturer, and more recently he has been the traveller and representative for Mr Fred Corby, leather dresser.

Few men have been called upon to fill so conspicuous place in the public life of Rushden as Mr John Thomas Colson, and no man has done his duty more faithfully.

Heart trouble was the cause of death. The funeral will take place tomorrow (Saturday) at the Cemetery at 2.15p.m. It is requested that member of public bodies wishing to attend the funeral will meet at the Council Buildings at 2 o’clock.

Rushden Argus, 4th August 1922
Procession from the church and at the cemetery

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